Kroum has just picked up on a Reuters report stating that General Motors had been in talks with Kia about the possibility of buying Saab.
Earlier in this who GM Crisis debacle, GM stated that they there was one potential suitor for Saab, though no names were mentioned and nothing further has been said about it. All the talk since has been about Saab getting support from the Swedish government, staying under GM’s ownership but being self-managed. With new models on the way, the hope is that Saab can become profitable and then be a more attractive asset to sell.
The Reuters report reads as follows:
Executives of Kia, led by Kia President Eui-sun Chung, have had discussions with GM over the Saab premium brand, three sources with knowledge of the talks said.
From what I can tell, Kia is actually a subsidiary of Hyundai. in that same report, Hyundai claim they’re not looking to do any deals:
From Hyundai Motor Co to China’s SAIC Motor, Asia’s automakers have repeatedly said they have no appetite for deals at a time when cash is scarce and global sales are in decline. But efforts to interest them in potential deals have continued nonetheless.
The report also states that Ford have spoken to Hyundai about acquiring Volvo.
My take – there may have been talks, but I think they were probably exploratory in nature and led nowhere. I really think the government option is the one GM and Saab are pursuing with the most energy.
Mind you, the Koreans could just be killing time and waiting for GM to trip up. Then the fire sale will really be on in earnest.
This is what I had to say about this possibility back when we were discussing such things:
Hyundai are building some good vehicles nowadays. Their new Genesis thingy has people genuinely buzzing. They have a very strong corporate culture, a wide industrial base and like other Asian manufacturers, they could probably see some value in having a genuine European brand under their wing.
Ah, who am I kidding?
Hyundai are like the brussel sprouts of the car business. Apparently they’re good for you but it’s a rare person that really likes them.
They might have money (they might not, too) but they’ve got no soul when it comes to the car business. They need to go out and do something extraordinary. Until then, I’m just not interested.
Probability: Unknown, could be anything